Our room last night was sealed and pitch black, and so at 6AM I woke up and fell back to sleep. At 7:30AM I woke up again and thought, you know, I bet it’s light outside already. I opened the shades a crack and I heard Jack moan, “I don’t wanna.”
We headed next door to a 50s diner knockoff, since we had coupons. (Pancakes were good but too small for even an honorable mention.) When we emerged it was already raining. The rain and lowered temperatures were such a relief we almost welcomed the idea of putting on rain gear.
Flooding all around Omaha has caused road closures, particularly the detouring of all I-29 traffic onto county roads. We wanted to avoid those especially, and so headed down on a route east a little bit, then south. Through the rain, we rolled through the microscopic town called Beebeetown IA. This area is known as the Loess Hills, and it is aptly named. We did plenty of climbing here but nothing overly steep or long. The hills are farmed exgtensively with corn and soybeans, and the terrain is terraced in contours following the elevations, with the plant rows following these contours. The resulting geometries are very beautiful, especially when in slow motion passing them.
We reached I80 and then started a SW vector into Council Bluffs, meeting up with Bill and stopping for a lunch at a place called Lansky’s. Bill and I both had a Philly cheese steak – check out how huge these sandwiches were!
We then managed our way through the eastern streets of Council Bluffs then south out of town. The three of us stopped again at a place called Tasty Treet and had some exceptionally cold ice cream, mine a cone, and Jack’s a very large milkshake. Good place – you can tell they care about their product.
Back on the bikes, Bill spied Roger rolling down the Wabash Trace Bike/Nature Path. Early word was that this trail heads straight into Glenwood, but my online research showed that it misses it by quite a bit. Bill sped down the trail to inform Roger, then soon called to tell us that he and Roger were going to stay on it. Jack and I continued down Wabash Ave., and eventually onto 221st St. On this stretch we ran into a backup of cars and slowly passed them all to the front, where we found a rollover cleanup in progress. Ah, a nice excuse for a rest! We parked our bikes and lay down on the grass roadside for about 20 minutes. It was pretty funny to watch the driver get a field sobriety test. You could tell he was trying hard, but wobbled badly off line. Then he had to lift a foot for a while and nearly fell over backwards. As she stuffed him into the patrol car I heard the officer say, “Oh well, that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Glenwood IA! Finally to Glenwood! 2,752 miles to get here. Man, we must really want to get to Ragbrai. But kidding aside, it represents a pretty big milestone for us since we’ve been aiming for this target for more than 7 weeks now, looking at mileages and budgeting our days out. The riding and scheduling has worked out perfectly, almost another miracle. But we’ve accomplished it by weathering nearly every challenge thrown at us, riding in the heat, wind, rain, and cold – damn the torpedoes full speed ahead.
We hit a C-store for celebratory Gatorades, and lay on their lawn musing that we might be the first 2011 riders in town. As we explored the town, those musings started to take firmer shape since we saw nothing of Ragbrai, no tents, no bicycles, no beer gardens. We spiralled outward and eventually ran into 2 bicyclists who directed us to the high school. We made it there, stopping for a milkshake and ginger ale float at April Rain. Three or four tents were set up in the sports field and we joined them, tucked into a small edge of afternon shade.
Subway for dinner, although I took most of mine back to the tent. Bill and Roger joined us at the HS. They were exhausted from a terrible night next to the train tracks in Missiouri Valley. Since my cold symptoms were returning I decided to pop a couple of NyQuil, blogged for a short while, and then slept.
The rain and cooler temperatures were a secondary highlight today, although it got very warm again in the sunny afternoon. The primary highlight, however was reaching Glenwood. Ragbrai awaits! We now have Friday and Saturday to rest and celebrate before riding in the event. I think maybe I will sleep 12 hours tonight.